The State of the Rogues – By Joshua Samford

 I’m going to just preface this article and say that I, Joshua Samford (devilishly handsome writer extraordinare), speak solely for myself and do not represent the entire feelings and opinion of Rogue Cinema or any of the Rogue Reviewers other than myself. Just as a fan of the magazine, the "scene" out there and film in general, I thought I would give a few thoughts on the course that Rogue Cinema has began to take this past year and what I feel is in the future for this magazine and many of us who participate. Rogue Cinema started off as something I don’t think many of us really, truly expected to take off as much as it has. Well, Duane (the lead editor and the guy responsible for any of this actually being in existence, and a heck of a nice guy to boot, his site is B-Movie Central) might have a differing opinion than that, as from the beginning he was always upbeat, supportive and positive about the whole endeavor, but once again I speak for myself. Way back when we first started this web-zine up, I think it was a make or break type of situation. At the time The Rogue Reviewers were just a group of writers who all focused on their own websites and basically just participated in a monthly/bi-monthly roundtable review, and also gathered together every week or so to watch a b-movie and chat together over IRC. You can read through the logs over at The Rogue Reviewers site, and as you may see during the final year or so, the gatherings participation began to really dwindle off. Not to mention the roundtables were becoming harder and harder for a lot of us as we were simply burned out on our own sites (well, that would be for me and still to this day I have trouble writing for my own site) For a while there it was basically just Duane, Sharon (Duane’s wife) myself and Jordan (another guy we all should thank, he started this whole road we’re travelling on) at the gatherings, with Brian/Tim and some others as things went on. A lot of the time it was just us, and about the time Katrina hit and knocked me out of commission – and subsequently stuck me with a 60-65 hour work week ever since, the gatherings sadly just sort of died. That still bugs the crap out of me, as they were some of the most fun viewings of any films I had ever had.

So, like I said, with gatherings dwindling in attendance and the roundtable reviews not being much more popular – Rogue Cinema stood as the tie that binded us. Some people couldn’t hang with it, some let their ego get in the way and some just felt they couldn’t constantly contribute to it and their own sites. So, we did eventually lose a good number of writers along the way, but we’d lose one, gain another and so on and so forth. Then here we are in 2006, over four years as a group now (myself now being a member for three) and I think The Rogue Reviewers and our offspring Rogue Cinema has truly found it’s pace. After a bumpy start, including a period where we were even going to go with a design quite a bit different than our current one, when Todd from the Monkeyhouse Lounge was doing a lot of our web-design related work. Todd unfortunately had a family, was just developing a lot of things he had to take care of and couldn’t really take on all of that responsibility so he gracefully bowed out (and we all owe a lot to Todd and will always remember him as a good friend) and Duane took over. With a new interest in database systems and his limitless knowledge of these computer doo-hickeys, Duane found a success PHP engine that worked for what we needed and the basis for RC was born. We’ve constantly been developing what exactly the Rogues are ever since the creation of this online webzine, and it’s hard to say exactly where the turn towards independent cinema truly began, but it has been gradual. All of us had pretty much dealt with the screener process due to our own sites, but not quite to the capacity that we are now. When Rogue Cinema first began, screener DVDs sent in by filmmakers were pretty much always taken care of by Duane himself since he handles the majority of the feedback and such on this site – and interviews were pretty few and far in between up until a little while back – with few of us taking care of the honors only when Duane was truly overloaded (and for those who don’t know, Duane works himself to death getting all of our stuff together every month, and for those of you who read this – send the guy an e-mail and tell him how much you appreciate his long hours) but starting up about halfway through this year; we’re all doing our best not to become overloaded. Two and three screeners apiece has become the norm for many of us (I haven’t taken as many as these other guys, so don’t give me the credit, save that for the guys who really do bust their humps for this magazine) – and it doesn’t look to be slacking up, and we’re all the happier for our new responsibilities. From where I sit, as someone who deeply cares about this magazine and has been around for a decent amount of time – RC is becoming an increasingly important voice in the world of independent and genre cinema, and I sincerely hope that our audience out there is as excited as we are.

Another thing I think should be mentioned is a brief run-in we had quite a while back with a gentleman who at the very least claimed to write for Rue Morgue magazine. As time has went by I’ve doubted the story, due to the lack of writing ability in his diatribes against the Rogues and his overall childish attitude – but Jordan once posted on a newsgroup for horror films a while back and somehow a gentleman going by the title "gore-met" singled Jordy out in a discussion and started ragging on our writers and what exactly we stand for. As someone who now reads Rue Morgue on a fairly regular basis, the Gore-Met articles in the end of their magazines are often entertaining and well written – something this writer showed very little of. Whether he just has an amazing editor, or doesn’t think things clearly when he gets on the internet or not – his criticisms at the time were completely hypocritical. He attacked The Rogue Reviewers for their long and detailed filled reviews, claiming we talked more about our personal day than the actual films themselves. I don’t think that is a statement entirely without merit, but this is the internet and letting a reader know just how popular or what the status is on the "scene" with any particular film seems like very necessary information to me. Regardless, this is nothing the actual Gore-Met section of Rue Morgue is not guilty of within itself. This mystery author, who was actually based out of Canada (and I know I’m sounding like a freak stalker at this point) much like the writers of Rue Morgue, claimed a great writer can give a perfect description of a film in a mere three hundred words. After reading one his latest articles on Bone Sickness in RM, I didn’t count but it had to at the very least be over seven hundred words. Do not get me wrong however, I am not harvesting a grudge against this author (I do enjoy his articles, monthly and checked out Bone Sickness for myself after his kind words towards it), much less Rue Morgue, but it was one of our first exposures with the outside world of authors… and turned out to be a less than pleasant one to say the least. These days though, with our growing success and our fanbase constantly growing and as nice and fair with us as they are, I would have to say Gore-Met would most certainly be in the minority these days. So, here we are on the brink of entering a new year in just a couple of months, and we’ve actually interviewed the likes of Kevin Smith and Jon Voight among others. We’re breaking free from the small success we have had as individuals and are now becoming something larger. A new entity, and for future Rogues members, this year to me marks our break away from being the likes of a really great but small mom and pop organization; to hopefully something much larger, but just as hip. I believe in The Rogues and I believe in all of the people involved with us, and hope that the readers out there will take a look at this article and have a better understanding of what has been going on with us and where exactly we come from. We are just a loyal group of movie fans, often attracted some pretty bizarre and diverse movies – but it is what makes us special, and you’ll always count on RC to take a look at the absurd, strange and unheard of side of the cinematic world. We’re here to report all the news not available elsewhere. I ask that others out there continue to support us, join the forums, try out for a writing position, do whatever you can to be here while we expand. This is a critical time in our existence and I know I want as many of our fans along for the ride as possible. Sign up guys, we’re only just getting started.